|by ANDREW WILLIAMS - Sunday, December 21, 2008
Actor Sean Bean, 49, came to fame in ITV costume drama series Sharpe. He has appeared in films including Lord Of The Rings, Flightplan and GoldenEye. His latest is arty epic Far North, filmed in the arctic with Michelle Yeoh, which is in cinemas on Friday.
Far North is quite a spectacular film, where did you shoot it?
We filmed it in the Arctic Circle, 400 miles away from the North Pole. We got there in a plane then had to take a couple of ships. We were surrounded by ice and polar bears. We lived on a ship for five weeks, went to work on the land and then went to bed in our cabins. Itís a very strange landscape with a very magical sort of light. Thereís no one there at all.
Were you attacked by polar bears?
No but we saw some tracks all around the catering trucks. There were guys around on lookout making sure we were OK. The bears can come out of nowhere. Theyíd lurk around in the middle of the night.
After working so closely together for six weeks, are you and Michelle Yeoh best mates now?
(Awkward silence) Erm, itís difficult in those conditions. You donít get much time to do anything apart from your job. She was a real trouper. She never complained.
Why did you want to do it?
Itís a bit arty. Itís not mainstream cinema, which is why I wanted to do it. Itís an unusual and enigmatic story that doesnít pander to a mainstream audience.
Whatís the best thing youíve had to learn for a film?
Films where Iíve had to learn sword fighting or riding. Training with the South African equivalent of the SAS for Bravo Two Zero was an interesting insight into how they conduct themselves.
Sean Bean came to fame in ITV costume drama series Sharpe. He has appeared in films including Lord Of The Rings, Flightplan and GoldenEye.
Whatís been your worst moment on stage?
When I was doing Macbeth, I missed a huge chunk of a soliloquy. I came offstage saying: ĎThatís the best itís ever goneí and was told I missed three-quarters of the speech out. Corpsing is also a terrifying feeling Ė I did that in Macbeth, too. When something is so horrific it can turn into hysteria, which turns into uncontrollable laughter.
What films would you erase from your CV?
I wouldnít erase them, Iíd just advise you not to see them Ė but Iím not naming any. Iíve done films that had huge potential but due to whatever circumstances, the original story was diluted. As an actor, youíre in the hands of producers and directors. Itís important to find out who youíre working with.
Whatís been your most extravagant purchase?
I bought a Jaguar when I was 28. Iíd always wanted one. I had it for years, then my friend had it, then my dad had it. It was a good workhorse. I got my moneyís worth from it and gave it a respray.
What is the worst job youíve ever had?
Working in the cheese department in Marks & Spencer when I was 17. The smell was terrible and I had to wear a white paper hat. I started at 9am and left at lunchtime. I got on the bus and never went back.
Was going to Rada a culture shock?
It was at first. It was a big move for me. I was born and brought up in Sheffield and had never lived anywhere else. It took a while to adapt to life in London but six months into my course at Rada, I felt very at home.
How long were you going to try acting for before you got a proper job?
Getting into Rada really gave me huge focus; it was the moment when I decided Iíd do it for the rest of my life. I didnít have any doubts that Iíd be successful. I donít want to sound arrogant but I was so determined and so excited by acting, I really thought Iíd make a go of it.
Whatís the best Christmas present you ever received?
A Raleigh Chopper bike Ė that was definitely the thing to have in the 1970s.